Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Movie Review: War For The Planet Of The Apes

Two things that I did not expect to do as I was watching "War for the Planet of the Apes" 

Laugh. Cry. 

I was honestly so caught up with the characters that I found myself cheering on Caesar and his family of apes rather than cheering for my race (humans can be so mean sometimes, or as is the case in the movie-all the time). 

The film, is a brilliant ending to the trilogy which has redefined this tale of science of fiction and placed it on a larger, blockbuster scale with hints of raw human emotions, you can't help but be moved. 

"War for the Planet of the Apes" delivers on its promise of impressive special effects and breath taking battles but the film's strength is really in its story, and in its characters whom we have come to know in the last few movies. Especially Caesar (Andy Serkis) whose journey we have followed from the first film (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) until this explosive conclusion. 

Michael Bay should take a cue from "War for the Planet of the Apes" director Matt Reeves, who highlighted character and emotions to draw his audiences in over explosions and fight scenes-although the movie lacks none of those action scenes for sure. The heart of the story is Caesar, his journey and his struggles to protect his family and his tribe despite the ever growing threat of humans, in this film represented by the ruthless Colonel, played by the talented Woody Harrelson. 

If you're concerned that you can't remember what happened in the second movie (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) or the first one for that matter (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) don't worry as there is a bit of a reminder at the start of the film. A quick hint though, the first film is the one with James Franco and this is where Caesar comes into his higher form of intelligence, basically where the whole story begins. To understand where "War for the Planet of the Apes" stands, the second movie, (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) ends with an emergency signal being sent out to a military operative and this group has slowly been making its way to Caesar's home and this is where "War for the Planet of the Apes" starts. 

Aside from Woody Harrelson's stone cold performance, which compliments the iron-fisted colonel, there are also a couple of great additions to the film, which definitely help make it the gem that it is. 

Kudos to Steve Zahn's portrayal of 'bad ape' is spot on! A former zoo animal, 'Bad Ape'  learned to speak and got smarter as the humans around him got sicker from the Simian Virus. He escaped the zoo and now lives in isolation as survives as a scavenger. Being alone for a long time has had its toll on 'bad ape' who seems a bit quirky but in a hilarious way that makes you like the character. He is the only comic relief in the film, hence my laughing at some scenes in the film (which I did not expect to do, going into watching the movie) but every time 'bad ape' is in the scene, you will just laugh out loud and love this little guy. 

The other impressive addition to the cast is not a monkey or a man but a young girl, portrayed by 12 year old actress Amiah Miller. Miller plays "Nova" a mute, infected child who unexpectedly becomes part of Caesar's family, much to the insistence of his adviser, Maurice. Since Nova is mute, Miller has had to convey her feelings through her facial expressions and this is something that the child actor was able to do well. Watch out! She plays a surprising pivotal role in the film that will just pull  the rug from under you! 

Throughout the film, Caesar struggles to keep his tribe safe, he also deals with his inner demons and instincts and he must rise above these in order to ensure the safety of his family. 

I must commend on the spot-on musical score of the film from Michael Giacchino which just highlights every bit of emotion in each scene. 

8.5 out of 10 -  the film is a fitting conclusion to the trilogy, it has all the elements of a great film, action yes but it is also grounded on the characters and the emotions that they make you feel. Definitely a must see and a contender for one of the top films this year! 

War for the Planet of the Apes is now showing! 

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